Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Paul E. Spector, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Walter C. Borman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David M. Diamond, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carnot E. Nelson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Douglas M. Rohrer, Ph.D.


job stress, interpersonal conflict, cross culture, china, qualitative analysis


In this study, comparisons on job stressors and job strains have been made between American and Chinese employees. Data were collected from two jobs differing in social status: university professors and university administrative and support staff. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. The quantitative part involved traditional Likert scales for measuring job stressors (e.g., lack of job autonomy, interpersonal conflict, and organizational constraints), and job strains (e.g., turnover intention, frustration, negative emotions, job dissatisfaction, depression, and physical symptoms). The qualitative part was an open-ended questionnaire asking about a stressful job incident. Independent t-tests were used to compare the United States to China on the job stressors and job strains for the quantitative data. Content analyses were applied on the open-ended answers. Finally, I conducted chi-square tests to examine if the frequencies of reported stressors/strains between the U.S. sample and the Chinese sample were significantly different.

From the quantitative analyses on job stressors, American employees perceived more job autonomy and organizational constraints than Chinese employees. There was no significant difference between the two samples on interpersonal conflict.

The analyses on the qualitative data revealed that heavy workload, interpersonal conflicts, and organizational constraints were the common job stressors for both the U.S. and Chinese samples. However, lack of job control was a unique stressor for American employees, while performance evaluations and work mistakes were specifically stressful for Chinese employees. The Chi-square analysis yielded a significant difference in the nature of reported stressors between the U.S. and Chinese sample.

The qualitative analyses on job strain data revealed that, under high pressure, American employees tended to be angry and frustrated, while Chinese employees tended to feel worried and helpless. The most important physical symptom for the U.S. sample was tiredness and exhaust, while sleep problems was serious to Chinese sample. The Chisquare analysis yielded a significant difference in both psychological and physical strains between the U.S. and Chinese samples.

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Psychology Commons